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Turton, Joseph (1832–1889)

On Thursday evening last the public were horror-stricken at the report which was circulated through the town that officer Mr. Joseph Turton, Loco-Inspector, had been killed on the railway line. Upon enquiry at the railway station we found that the report was true, and that but few facts could be gleaned concerning the terrible affair. It would appear that Mr. Turton arrived in Bathurst by train about 6 o'clock on that evening from Blayney, having travelled nearly all day. He placed some valuable official documents in the hands of Mr. Farquhar, station-master, and shortly afterwards went into the Railway Refreshment Room, where he had something to eat and drink. About 7.30 o'clock he left the station with the intention of going home, but nothing more was heard of him until about an hour afterwards, when word was brought to the station by Mr. Turton's head clerk, Mr. Burns, that the body of a man was lying on the railway line near the Russell-street crossing. Lamps were procured, and Mr. Farquhar and several railway employees at once went to the spot indicated. They found a body curled up as into a ball, and for some time were unable to recognise it. After turning the body over it was seen to be that of Mr. Turton. His neck was broken, and besides being frightfully injured in other ways, one leg was cut off and lying at some distance from the body, the toes of the foot being torn off and lying on the outside of the rails. All the outer garments wore torn from the body and lying in a ball about five yards away. The whole case is shrouded in mystery, and the solution given by those acquainted with the circumstance is that Mr. Turton was on his road to his residence in Havannah-st., and in order to avoid the mud in the low-lying streets he had sometimes walked along the line from the station to the Railway Bridge, where he would go into Durham-street and then to his home. The ballast from the 'four foot' had been cleared away and placed against the outside of the rail, and it is thought that when he saw the engine coming he stepped off the four foot and was awaiting for the train to pass, but being too near the line the buffer head struck him and he was knocked down and dragged for a distance of about eighty yards, traces of some object having been dragged along the loose ballast being quite plain. The body appears to have been thrown into the 'four foot,' where it was found, while at different parts along the track are traces of blood. The unfortunate gentleman's bag was found a short distance from the body, also his keys and hat. A luggage train with coal arrived at the Bathurst station from Esk Bank about 20 minutes to 8 o'clock, and it is thought that by this train he was first knocked down. At 7.45 p.m. a train left Bathurst for Sydney and this train must have passed over him and carried the body some little distance, from where it first fell. About 8.30 Mr. Burns, Mr. Turton's head clerk, was walking along the line towards his office when he saw the body and at once gave information to the gate-keeper. The gate keeper says Mr. Turton did not pass through the gates, and it is thought that having left the station he walked into Russell-street and as the gate-keeper's box is on the opposite side of the street and line, he was able to pass through without attracting attention. The engine was carefully examined later in the evening and a small trace of blood was found on one of the pipes of the cylinder. Blood was also noticeable on the wheel of the dump-car which was next to the engine. Mr. Turton had been connected with the Railway Department for between twenty and thirty years, and by his untiring zeal and ability had won for himself an honored position. He was not only respected by those over whom he ruled in the department, but was looked upon by his superior officials as one of the best working engineers in the service. He was one of the first Loco.-Inspectors appointed in the Western District and has been over the Bathurst yard from its first establishment.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • inquest, Newcastle Morning Herald (NSW), 24 June 1889, p 5
  • funeral, Bathurst Free Press (NSW), 25 June 1889, p 2

Citation details

'Turton, Joseph (1832–1889)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/turton-joseph-28940/text36256, accessed 19 November 2019.

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